Shadetree Surgeon gives us his list. What's on yours?
Motorcycles come and go. Usually, they get replaced with a newer, better model, but some just fade into obscurity, never to be seen again. Sometimes there's a good reason for that, but other times we wonder why they had to go away in the first place. Shadetree Surgeon opens the conversation with his top five picks of bikes that are gone but should make a comeback tour.
Honda V65 Magna
This funky looking cruiser sported a 1100cc V4 engine that would not have been out of place in the fastest sportbike Honda had to offer. From 1986 to 1989 it was the fastest production motorcycle in the world according to Guinness. In its time it was the ultimate power cruiser. While Magnas would carry on until 2003, the V65 big-boy Magna was only made from 1983 to 1986. Surely, with bikes like the Suzuki Boulevard M109R out there, we can make a case for the return of the Magna.
Kawasaki ZL900 Eliminator
Kawasaki can't resist following Honda's lead. Kawi saw the success of the Magna and decided to make its own power cruiser. In this case, though, they saw no need to even try and retain the cruiser's traditional V-shaped engine configuration. Kawasaki simply yoinked the engine from the GPZ900R sportbike that Tom Cruise rode in Top Gun, built a cruiser around it, and called it good. Why not do it again? Actually, Kawasaki might be doing exactly that with a rumored Eliminator H2 in the works.
In the case of Suzuki's SV lineup, the smaller SV650 seems to get all the love. It's a great bike, but so was its big brother, the SV1000. Yamaha has seen success with the XSR900 retro bike, as has Kawasaki with the Z900. Though the big SV is a bit more recent than the bikes that inspired these others, the early 2000s are still nearly 20 years ago now, which would qualify a reborn SV1000 for the retro squad.
While the Magna and Eliminator were cruisers with sportbike engines, the Yamaha MT01 was the opposite. It took the 1700cc engine from the Warrior cruiser and stuffed it into a sportbike, with the brakes and suspension off of the R1. It's a similar concept as what Harley-Davidson was doing with Buell at the time. Unfortunately, the MT01 came out around the same time Harley was dropping the Buell brand, which may explain why Yamaha might have thought that bringing a similar bike here would not have worked well.
Harley-Davidson Super Glide
We all know the Harley-Davidson Road Glide and Street Glide, but many have never heard of the Super Glide. This model, from Harley's dark days of AMF, was a touring bike with all the touring equipment removed and a sporty suspension. Sure, it was a parts bin special, but it provided a comfortable bike that was faster than its more loaded down touring variants. Given that Harley still does plenty of parts bin engineering to great success, a modern Super Glide would not be that difficult to produce.
What are some bikes we can't get that you'd like to see in a new updated version? For me, the obvious answer is the Kawasaki KLR 650. I've ranted about this before, but with the dual-sport and adventure bike markets exploding, it seems crazy that Kawasaki would kill this iconic model without plugging the gaping hole in their lineup—a hole that Yamaha is happy to fill with the Ténéré 700.